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After 10 years of living in the Fort McMurray region, 39-year-old Peter Fortna has come to describe Fort McMurray as a place where a broad range of people, from around the world, have come to build a kind and caring society.
And it’s that kindness that resonates with him. Citing Elsie Yanik for the best advice he’s ever received, he shares, “Be kind because, you see, kindness is enduring. Kindness makes everyone feel good. The person who gives kindness feels just as good as the person receiving kindness, and whenever the need arises, be there actively seeking out opportunities to help.”
Peter is the owner of Willow Springs Strategic Solutions, a social science, environmental, and management consulting company. He has helped a number of Indigenous organizations develop strategies to deal with homelessness, historical research, planning, regulatory engagement, communications, and heritage resource management.
He sits on the Keyano College Board of Governors, and Wood Buffalo Housing Board of Directors, and is active in the community, helping people whenever he can.
“During my time here in Fort McMurray, I have been granted opportunities to be part of something much larger than I am,” he says. “I feel absolutely privileged to have been given the opportunity to take on such complicated and complex problems to try and make life better for everyone.”
When asked what his hope for the future is Peter replies, “As many of us continue to rebuild our community, I hope that we chose to create a kind, patient, and understanding society that chooses to help each other through difficult times.”